Q:Good afternoon from Los Angeles! I came across your blog looking for my identity, I've always been fascinated by our culture. My question is, why is there no "Ra" in Baybayin? And do you write Baybayin in Tagalog like the word "saan" instead of the Hiligaynon "diin" ?
Hi pandoranihilex! Thank you for visiting this small corner of mine in cyberspace. Yes, there is “Ra” in Baybayin, the same Baybayin we use in the letter “Da.” Why is this the case? Because of the language where it was used. Pre-colonial Tagalog language (which we can only deduce as being heavily influenced by Indian, Arabic and Chinese, before the Spaniards came) use the syllabic da and ra interchangeably. Even today, in Modern Filipino, da or ra is used depending whether the word preceding it ends in consonant or vowel letter. This happens in Filipino words like “Din” or “Rin.” Take for example this conversation.
Person 1: Nagutom ako kaya ayun, kumain DIN ako. (I got hungry so I ate.)
Person 2: Ako RIN. (Me too)
The same rule also applies to the Filipino root word “Dami” (many) or “Dumi” (dirt).
We don’t say “madami” or “madumi” if we add the prefix “ma” to make it an adjective. We say “marami” or “marumi.” Although in street Filipino lingo this is not really followed. The transformation of D to R happens to ease the pronunciation in Filipino to have the rolling sound.
In the case of Baybayin being used in Hiligaynon, many Spanish chroniclers noted that Baybayin was used throughout the islands, so it may have been possible that it was also used in Hiligaynon language. But then again, Baybayin is purely syllabic which is no longer the case with Modern Filipino. You can use the Lopez diacritic “+” to use it in the language. Hope this helps!
Found this beautiful graphic spread of the Bonifacio Family Tree via Rappler. The Procopio and Espiridonia branch of the family met in 1992—the first time they did since the 1897 unjust execution of the Bonifacio brothers. It is a wonderful story of a family who tried to preserve the legacy that Bonifacio bequeathed to the nation amidst persecution. Some even changed their names to hide their identity to escape harm.
- Interview with Gary Bonifacio, a descendant of Procopio Bonifacio
- Facts on the Family Tree of Andres
Composed by Filipino rock musician, Ebe Dancel, the heart-wrenching song tells of the fictional letter of Andres Bonifacio to his wife Gregoria de Jesus (Oriang), after he was tried and executed by the Magdalo faction at the mountains of Cavite. Oriang searched the body of her husband in the mountains for months to no avail. The song fully encapsulated the humanity of Andres. I first heard this song at Ballet Philippines’ Rock Supremo, holding up my tears, as they portrayed the song through ballet. You can watch Rock Supremo of BP tonight at the BGC Amphitheater at 7:00pm.
PS. The nome de guerre of Andres was ‘Maypagasa,’ while Oriang was ‘Lakambini.’
Kung ito na ang huli kong liham
Ayoko syang masayang sa isang paalam
Sa isang paalam
Dahil ako ay mabubuhay sa yong mga alaala
At sa puso mo, diwa ko’y titira
Di mo na ako kailangang hanapin pa
Pikit ka lang sinta, ako ay nariyan na
Sa buhay mang ito o sa kabilang mundo
Hangga’t may pag asang dumadaloy sa akin at sa’yo
Hangga’t pag-ibig ay panig sa atin, kumagat man ang dilim
'Wag mangamba, dahil liwanag tayo ng isa’t isa
O Lakambini ko, buhay ng buhay ko
Sa’n ka man patungo, dalhin mo ako
‘Wag ka nang matakot, mundo’y hayaan mong umikot
Darating din ang panahon ng hinahon
Di mo na ako kailangang hanapin pa
Pikit ka lang sinta, ako ay nariyan na
Sa buhay mang ito o sa kabilang mundo
Hangga’t may pag asang dumadaloy sa akin at sa’yo
Hangga’t pagibig ay panig sa atin, kumagat man ang dilim
‘Wag mangamba, dahil liwanag tayo ng isa’t isa
Source: SoundCloud / Rock Ed Philippines
When Bonifacio was born, there was nothing spectacular about him, save that what he would eventually do for his people he lovingly called Haring Bayang Katagalugan. Through the years, he has been used as a propaganda of Marxism, a political tool by Quezon against Aguinaldo, a hero who would be pitted against another hero, Jose Rizal. But remove all these embellishments, and we have a man who was as normal and commonfolk as we all are and could be. His idea of progress encapsulated in the Tagalog word “ginhawa” still reverberates in our national consciousness.
We now know that he was not that poor as proletariat (Mabini was poorer than him), he was not that impatient and impulsive as portrayed in many monuments (the screaming Bonifacio stereotype), that to say that he was from Tondo doesn’t mean he was a goon or a political warlord, but one who simply lived in one of the most exciting economic quarters in the Spanish province of Manila that is, as a presenter in the Bonifacio 150 conference at UP would say, a hotbed for new and radical ideas. We know from historical records that his tactics in Manila (countering the accusations of the Magdalo faction that he was not a good strategist), although foiled, was still ingenious given that he was managing troops larger than that of Cavite. We also know that although he did not finish school, he was an avid reader, who read Victor Hugo, the biographies of American presidents, who was a fan of the ideas of Rizal embedded in the two Rizalian novels of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. It is safe to say that in the context of the entire Asian region, the idea that a colonized man, an indio can rise up and govern his country without the strength of world superpowers was not only inspired by Rizal—it was revolutionary in Asia at the time. He established a nationwide movement of Filipino revolutionaries he called KKK or Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, the first group of that nature in Asia.
Bonifacio’s death is still an issue of controversy, and that his death brought about by his fellow revolutionaries in Cavite only proves that the problems of the ‘social cancer’ written by Rizal is still true, and that even in the injustice done to him, the Filipino people still applauds him louder than Aguinaldo.
Gregoria de Jesus, who searched the mountains to look for his body, and Artemio Ricarte, including Macario Sakay, who continued his legacy even after the Biak-na-Bato pact. Only a heart like Bonifacio could set ablaze hearts like these heroics.
We honor the man, for who he really is. He believed that freedom, even if it is at a high cost, can be sought and achieved, despite the depravity of his nation. It is to this that tearfully, this historian acknowledge the giant that was Andres.
“Aling pag-ibig ang hihigit kaya, sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila… sa pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa. Wala na nga. Wala.”
Salud, Supremo! Maligayang ika-150ng kaarawan! The first president of the Filipino nation.
*The Andres Bonifacio bust by the great Filipino sculptor Guillermo Tolentino, displayed at the National Art Gallery. Take note of Bonifacio’s name in Baybayin below the bust.
Witnessed 700 grade school students who learned a lot of good things from the life of Andres Bonifacio. Those twinkling eyes that only teachers could bring out from their students— priceless. From My Masterpiece Movement and NHCP’s Bonifacio Para sa Kabataan. #bonifacio150 #boni150 #philippines #bonifacioparasakabataan #mymasterpiecemovement #nhcp #ncca #history #instamood
To appreciate Andres Bonifacio’s love of liberty for this country, to understand his faith in the justice of his people’s cause and his concept of the value of human dignity as being far above life itself, it is necessary for us to deliberate upon them magnitude of his task. His mission was to emancipate a people who had lived for centuries under foreign rule — a people unorganized, unarmed, and with but a nascent national spirit — from a government then considered by a majority of the Filipinos as so very powerful that it could command every instrumentality to suppress any uprising of the people under subjection. And Andres Bonifacio was undoubtedly one of those extraordinary men who are born to carry out “enterprises of great pith and moment” that would demolish unjust empires and deliberate subject peoples. Imagine Bonifacio as a man born of poor and humble parents, reared in privation, always toiling hard in order to earn a living for himself and his family, and later conceiving the idea of challenging the power and might of a whole government and carrying out his plan with undaunted boldness, and you have before you the life and deeds of the Great Plebeian.
Former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon (1878-1944) from “Andres Bonifacio, The Great Plebeian.” Historical Bulletin 7.3 (September 1963 ): 245-248.
Entire excerpt here.
The Philippines will at last have its own Museum of Natural History. It will be housed in the Department of Tourism building, which is a Neo-classical building designed by pioneer Filipino architect Juan Arellano. As the DOT moves out to a new facility and NM moves in, the National Museum also invited five architects to design its interior in an effort to retrofit it for what will be a brand new museum. Architect Dominic Galicia and interior designer Tina Periquet won the hearts of the Board of Trustees, with their design of a center-steal pillar that resembles the double-helix of the DNA, supporting a glass dome. It will be called the Tree of Life, as the rest of the building will remain basically the same in structure, to showcase the abundant flora and fauna of the Philippines. The whole design is a perfect example of Adaptive Reuse, the retrofitting of heritage buildings, retaining its basic structure but using its interior for modern use. It is so far the best way to conserve a heritage building. The project is slated at P 1 Billion, and will be finished by 2015, in time for the APEC Summit in Manila.
I’m so excited for this!
More information here!
A tumblr follower sent me a message via fan mail, and I just wanted to repost his question here with his permission, since the question is really good and could be answered in a lot of ways. Especially now in the light of the calamities (earthquake and super typhoon in Visayas). Maybe you could answer it too. Here’s my answer in response below.
Hi 7jc, thank you so much for reading my blog. It is a privilege to serve and spew my love of history in the blogosphere. Regarding the book, I not only have the book itself, but I was also privileged to attend the Nation & Culture Conference itself, hosted by Senator Angara and National Artist F. Sionil Jose. Your question however, requires a long litany of answers that covers an entire thesis (lol) but I hope what I could tell you would suffice. I’m not sure if what you mean by being ‘poor/undeveloped/etc.’ is well according to how the West portrays it, that being exaggerated, we are likened to some poor country without natural resources, hopeless, and well.. ‘exotic.’ The country as I see it is nothing of that sort. First off, we are a very young country of 96.71 million strong (as of last year). We just got our formal political independence from the United States in 1946, and they left the country literally in shambles, since the U.S. and Japan fought on our soil. That being said, we have a long way going for us. We are just getting our bearings. China is around 5000 years old. The United States, 237 years. Modern South Korea, merely 67. The good thing about potential is that the possibilities are endless. Our population is composed of 53% youth, below 21 years of age. That means we are not like Singapore which had zero population growth despite being ‘first world,’ or some European country with a growing aged population. We are oozing with energy and our country has much to contribute to the world, with our culture as a bridge to the two hemispheres, having an Eastern and Western flavor. Second, we are not that poor in terms of natural resources. Singapore, which has no hinterland, eyes our country with envy. We are a tropical country of 7000 islands boasting of natural wonders that would leave many countries drooling. We have lush forests, a hundred species waiting to be discovered, bountiful marine resources and more. We are also not as exotic as many Westerners would see us. If they understand our history, they would be more sensitive to us since apart from giving us ‘contributions’ they also had much to answer for. But then playing the blame game wouldn’t suffice. It is not an excuse. So what’s the problem here? Feudalism runs rampant in the countryside like small fiefdoms of surnames of some dynastic families, and we here in Manila think that Manila is the Philippines and the Philippines is Manila. In short, we are just so centralized here in Manila, and we forget that the country is huge, with hinterlands and islands. Because of the same old-same old surnames turning up in politics and in the economic market, social mobility is also hard, people get tempted to play the padrino system, and the people are just overwhelmed of it all.
But before you get depressed, as I usually get when I study history (coz history has lots of dark secrets, massacres and tiresome politicking documented as well), remember the potential we have. No country is bereft of corruption. I believe that is part of human nature. Corruption just has to be contained, and opportunities just had to open to all regardless of social class. People also need to be shown that there are other course tracks to take so that these natural resources of ours could be utilized by us and for us, and not be taken over by other enterprising countries. We need to dare, to fire up our enterprising spirit, to see that we are beggars sitting on a big mound of gold. The social media is such a wonder. Many Filipinos are becoming aware of its power. Yes there’s a downside in cyberbullying and all, but because of this unusual openness of interaction and discourse, Filipinos are finally getting their hands on national issues. And I say it’s about time. People like you, who ask the questions you are asking me, show me and the blogosphere how we are all now getting discontented with the status quo. And that, my friend, is a good thing. Let us all be part of the good news for Pilipinas.
Dated: November 5, 2013.
Performed by the award-winning Filipino choir, the San Miguel Master Chorale, with music performed by the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra, Paraiso was a song composed by renowned composer Ryan Cayabyab for the Filipino pop group Smokey Mountain. Cayabyab served as musical director and composer for the said group. Known to dress up in ragged clothes to depict the realities of people living in Manila’s garbage dump called with the same name, Smokey Mountain, who originally performed the song, had performed for the United Nations World Summit for Children in New York in 1990 and won the Tokyo Music Festival in 1992. The group later disbanded in 1994, with the singers pursuing their individual careers as actors and singers.
Posting this now, in solidarity with the survivors (not victims) of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Our hearts and prayers go with you in this time of loss and rebuilding.
Paraiso is the Filipino word for Paradise.
Return to a land called Paraiso,
a place where a dying river ends.
No birds there fly over Paraiso,
no space allows them to endure.
The smoke that screens the air,
the grass that’s never there.
And if I could see a single bird, what a joy.
I try to write some words and create
a simple song to be heard
by the rest of the world.
I live in this land called Paraiso,
in a house made of cardboard floors and walls.
I learned to be free in Paraiso,
free to claim anything I see.
Matching rags for my clothes,
plastic bags for the cold.
And if empty cans were all I have, what a joy.
I never fight to take someone
else’s coins and live with fear
like the rest of the boys.
Paraiso, help me make a stand.
Paraiso, take me by the hand
Paraiso, make the world understand
that if I could see a single bird, what a joy.
This tired and hungry land could expect
some truth and hope and respect
from the rest of the world.
Source: SoundCloud / indiobravo